Objective: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's focus on outcome-based training has made the mentoring process critical for resident education. It is unknown how otolaryngology training programs mentor residents. Our objective was to determine the current state of mentoring in otolaryngology training programs and describe resident perceptions of mentoring. Study Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Accredited U.S. otolaryngology training programs. Subjects and Methods: All U.S. otolaryngology residents and program directors were contacted via e-mail with a link to an online survey. Results: Of the 1411 residents contacted, 27.7 percent responded, representing 71 of the 103 accredited otolaryngology programs. Of the 103 program directors contacted, 37.9 percent responded. Of these programs, 26 had formal mentoring programs, 45 did not have formal mentoring programs, and 12 programs were listed in both categories. Fifty-one percent of male residents and 49 percent of female residents had mentors. The most important mentor characteristics were personality match, good clinical role model, and similar subspecialty interests. Least important characteristics were race, gender, and age. Twenty-six percent of residents felt that mentoring was critical to their training, while 63 percent of residents listed mentoring as important but not critical. Programs with fewer faculty and residents were less likely to offer formal mentoring (P = 0.007 and 0.054, respectively). Of residents who did not have mentors, 80 percent lacked a mentor because their residency had no formal mentoring program. Conclusion: Residents perceive mentoring as important, and formal mentoring programs should be incorporated into otolaryngology training programs.
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